The Australian Age has highlighted the practice by climate change deniers/contrarians/skeptics of using freedom of information requests to harrass scientists ansd insitutions invovled in climate change research (see Think tank warned over climate information requests).
“RIGHT-WING think tank the Institute of Public Affairs has received a warning from the Department of Climate Change after it submitted more than 750 freedom-of-information requests in four months.
The institute, which strongly opposes carbon pricing, has made more than 95 per cent of FOI requests lodged with the department since April.
The department last week wrote to the institute’s director of climate change policy, Tim Wilson, and asked that he stop submitting requests so it could deal with the backlog.”
The shear numbers of these FOI requests show that they are uses as harassment and are politcally motivated.
“It is believed Mr Wilson submitted about 440 information requests on one day in late July and more than 140 on one day last week.
A government source said it took about 39 hours of staff time to process each application.
”He is conducting a political campaign against the government’s policy on climate change and this is coming at significant cost to taxpayers,” the source said.”
The local, New Zealand, equivalent of The Institute of Public Affairs is The NZ Centre for Political Research. They are closely aligned with the NZ ACT Party and local climate change denier/contrarian groups like The Climate Conversation Group and the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. These last groups have been doing a little FOI harrassment of their own. Of course, they also hope this sort of activity will create an illusion that the scientists or their insitutions are guilty of something. A sort of “When are you going to stop beatin g your wife?” type tactic.
With thanks to Graham Readfearn (@readfearn)
Posted in diversity, Environment and Ecology, politics, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged climate change, contrarians, deniers, Environment, Freedom of Information, global warming, Institute of Public Affairs, sceptics, SciBlogs, skeptics
Well, the latest report from inquiries into the “climategate” affair confirm that the scientific conclusions of climate scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), University of East Anglia stand on “solid ground.”
The report is clear – relatively short and well worth reading. (Download Report of the International Panel set up by the University of East Anglia to
examine the research of the Climatic Research Unit). Here are the conclusions:
- ” We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal.
- We cannot help remarking that it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians. Indeed there would be mutual benefit if there were closer collaboration and interaction between CRU and a much wider scientific group outside the relatively small international circle of temperature specialists.
- It was not the immediate concern of the Panel, but we observed that there were important and unresolved questions that related to the availability of environmental data sets. It was pointed out that since UK government adopted a policy that resulted in charging for access to data sets collected by government agencies, other countries have followed suit impeding the flow of processed and raw data to and between researchers. This is unfortunate and seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in government.
- A host of important unresolved questions also arises from the application of Freedom of Information legislation in an academic context. We agree with the CRU view that the authority for releasing unpublished raw data to third parties should stay with those who collected it.”
Posted in Environment and Ecology, human rights, politics, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged climategate, Climatic Research Unit, Climatic Research Unit hacking incident, emails, Freedom of Information, Pennsylvania State University, UEA, University of East Anglia